…as Persaud delivers final address at annual Police ConferenceThe practice of transferring and demoting rogue elements will not bring an end to the scourge of corruption within the Guyana Police Force. This is the position of President David Granger, who delivered a stern warning to rouge elements, saying there is no place for lawlessness in the Force.Delivering the feature address at the opening of the Annual Police Officers’ Conference on Thursday, Granger noted that corruption within the law enforcement agency cannot be cured by ignoring it. He pointed out the case of the former head of the Special Weapons and Tactical (SWAT) Unit, Deputy Superintendent Mootie Dookie, who is being investigated for alcohol smugglingCommander-in-Chief President David Granger being accorded the Presidential Salute upon his arrival at the Officers’ Mess at Eve Leary for the Annual Police Conferenceand has since been “temporarily transferred” to the Force’s Strategic Unit.“Dookie’s law teaches that if corruption is concealed, it will continue. Transferring a corrupt officer from one branch to another, or posting him from one Division to another, or promoting him, or demoting him from one rank to another, cannot guarantee he will change his wicked ways,” the President said.He went on to say that senior officers turning a blind eye to corruption put the lives of not only honest Police ranks on the line but that of the public as well.According to the Head of State, a Force contaminated by corruption cannot ensure the security of citizens. Instead, he noted that the service provided must be based on values in commitment, competence and incorruptibility.To this end, President Granger posited that the Security Sector Reform, which his Administration is committed to and working on implementing, will seek to tackle this issue that is plaguing the country’s premier law enforcement agency.“I am on the side of the Police Force, I’m very confident in the Police Force (and) that is why I went through all the trouble to initiate reforms. So that the Police Force would have an easier time in combating crime, which is what I was tough on – crime,” he told reporters on the sidelines when asked about the toughness of his speech.He pointed out that Police reform is not a political gimmick but will further strengthen the Force’s ability and capability to tackle crime. He further noted that the reforms will also incorporate the lessons gathered from the planned inquiries into past mass killings during the troubled periods, starting with the Lindo Creek massacre.“Inquiries which will eventually be commissioned are intended to improve the Force’s administration and operations, they are not intended to demoralise or destabilise the Force… The authorities at that time, instead of trying to cure the cause, were more concerned about concealing the symptoms. The Force cannot change if old attitudes persist,” he asserted.Security Sector ReformAnother area President Granger added that the Security Sector Reform will also seek to strengthen is the strained relations between the Force and the public, something which he emphasised is important to crime fighting.“It is apparent that the trust between the public and the Police was damaged, more during the ‘troubles’ than any other time… Efforts must be made to rebuild public trust (and) the Security Sector Reform will strength partnerships between the Force and communities. Citizens should not consider themselves to be passive onlookers or bystanders to crime fighting,” he posited.Also highlighting the importance of public trust was Commissioner of Police Seelall Persaud, who delivered his last address to the Annual Officers’ Conference, which is being held under the theme: “Forging ahead with effective policing through strategic human resources and operational management, partnership and professionalism.”He stated that despite challenges, the Force was resilient in its crime fighting strategy. He reflected on statistics of recent years which represents an overall comparative reduction in criminal activities.“People measure the utility will be gain from justice against the time that they will have to spend in order to achieve that justice and which one weighs out will determine, whether they will report or not. Public trust is a major issue; if people don’t believe that their matter will be treated with professionally and there would be a justified outcome, then they will not be motivated to report it,” says Persaud.He went on to talk about other challenges that are on the agenda of the three-day conference, which wraps up on Saturday, such as the review of Police prosecution operations.“We have found over the years, a number of negative issues associated with those operations. So it is anticipated that there will be intense discussions regarding the development of command systems for commanders in order to achieve the control function of management. Controlling the rates of unprofessional behaviour, reducing response time, reducing investigation and prosecution backlog, will be major objectives,” the Top Cop stated.The outgoing Commissioner is set to retire in April after 30 plus years of service in the Force.